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own lusts, and say, Where is the promise of his coming?"

Even such characters are sometimes known to take up, amongst other grounds of rejection, the common charge against the gospel, of its slackening the restraints of moral obligation, and thus tending to immorality and licentiousness. How passing strange !— What anomalous, unaccountable presumption !It is one amongst the many demonstrative evidences of the falsehood of such an allegation against the gospel, that the licentious are its enemies. Were the charge well founded, they of all men, instead of hating and opposing it, would try to persuade themselves of its truth. It would be acceptable, and palatable. It would have all the recommendation of good news. For nothing assuredly could be more welcome to a licentious man, than to be told how he might "continue in sin," and yet " grace abound." The very disposition of the wicked to oppose the gospel should be considered as a testi

mony from them to its holy tendency. If it encouraged sin, it would be a favourite with the sinner. The real cause of the opposition of such persons is stated by Christ in the verses immediately following the text:"For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

It is unnecessary to enlarge on this particular. It will hardly be questioned, that in the unbelief of characters of this first description, there may fairly be concluded to be the operation of evil principle :—and if there be, there must be guilt. Theirs is surely, if it is anywhere at all to be found, the "evil heart of unbelief." Their hostility to the gospel is dictated by alienation from God. There can here be no reasonable hesitation to apply the words of the text: "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and that men loved

darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

II. The second description of unbelief which I proposed to notice, is that of THOUGHTLESSNESS, or INCONSIDERATION.

This, perhaps, would be more correctly designated the absence of faith, than positive unbelief. It possesses more, certainly, of the nature of a negation; inasmuch as a man can hardly, with propriety, be said either to believe or disbelieve what he has never considered. Yet with whom, unless with unbelievers, can the inattentive and inconsiderate be classed? All must come under the general denomination, who have the means of knowledge, and continue regardless;—and negative as their unbelief may be, it is deeply criminal, and alas! most extensively prevalent. The persons of whom I now speak, and of whom the multitude is so great, are not, like the class of whom I have already spoken, open profligates. They are not addicted to any of those courses which the world calls vicious. They may


even in their lives be sober, decent, and re

spectable. But they are immersed in the businesses, the amusements, and the social intercourse of life. In enjoying the pleasures, and pursuing the acquisitions of the world, each according to his taste, or according to the peculiarity of controlling circumstances, with all the ceaseless bustle of eager emulation, they are thoroughly employed; -their time and their attention quite taken up. They go on in this course from day to day, and from year to year, without a serious thought being devoted to the inquiry, unutterably momentous as it is, whether the gospel be true or false. There is no fixing them to the subject. They have other things to mind. There is for ever something ready with an imperious claim for present precedence. They say to all who would invite them to serious reflection, and they say to the occasional convictions of their own minds, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season I will call for thee." They are far from being resolved never to think.

But they cannot think now: and, as each hour of the future becomes successively present, the same apology recurs, and the time for thinking never arrives. It continues always a time to come. They fancy indeed they do no great harm: they are busy; they have not leisure; and they cannot help it. They flatter themselves, that it is rather a thing they cannot than a thing they will not do. Conscience may at particular moments be sensible of a misgiving twinge: but it is neither severe nor lasting. It is easily suppressed, and quickly forgotten, amidst the "vain stir" of the world, and the countenance of ten thousand examples.

Such persons will not admit that they are unbelievers, and would be grievously offended were you to call them so. But unbelievers the Bible pronounces them; and little as they may think of it, their unbelief is far from innocent.-Is there no guilt, think you, my hearers, in refusing, or even neglecting, to examine what professes to come from the infinite God?-in trifling with his claims?

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